5G Broadcast

The 5th generation network standard, with higher data rates and lower latency, also has great potential for the production, contribution and distribution of media content.

The network standard 5G is not only the 5th generation mobile communication technology with higher data rates and lower latency times, but will also connect people and things with each other in the future as a comprehensive communication system and thus change entire industries and markets. 5G is regarded as a key technology in the areas of automated driving, industry 4.0, Smart Grid and eHealth. Due to its global standardization, it also offers significant added value for media purposes in contribution, production and distribution. The cost-effective combination of linear and non-linear content on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and self-driving cars opens up opportunities for wireless mobile value-added services.

Together with partners (e.g. EBU, SWR, BBC, RAI), IRT brings the requirements of broadcasting into the standardization process. The contributions to 3GPP Release 14, for example, which brings significant improvements in TV transmission in LTE/5G, were a great success. Research cooperations provide findings for standardization and promote the further development of components. The 5G Media Initiative, coordinated by IRT, brings together well-known representatives from the media, science and industry.

3GPP “Release 14”

In June 2017, the international standardization committee 3GPP (3G Partnership Project) completed the "Release 14" development stage. This supports important requirements for broadcasting services in large-cell 4G and 5G networks. With these developments, Release 14 approaches the parameters that have been common in classical terrestrial broadcasting transmission methods so far.

The improvements include reception without SIM card and without authentication, as well as the option to make up to 100 percent of the transmission capacity available for broadcasting applications in the new FeMBMS mode - the further development of the LTE broadcast mode eMBMS. Significantly increased transmitter inter-sites allows the use of broadcast transmitter sites for economical area coverage. In addition, FeMBMS enables larger transmitter cells in a single-frequency network. A pure receive-only mode, without the necessity of a return channel, was also established in the 3GPP standard, as was the definition of audiovisual transport and coding formats currently used in broadcasting.

IRT is actively involved in 3GPP standardization and regulatory issues in the relevant groups (5G Media Initiative, 5G Exchange Platform of BNetzA, ITU WP-5D and EBU-FD (Future Distribution), as well as corresponding subgroups), in particular in the ongoing Work Item Descriptions (WIDs) to further improve Terrestrial Broadcast for Release 16 and AV production.


As part of the 5G TODAY research project, a 5G test field for broadcasting is being set up in the Bavarian alpine region. The test field serves to practically evaluate new 5G concepts for contribution, production and distribution and consists of components around the previous IMB5 test field.

Under the direction of IRT, the project partners are investigating the large-scale TV transmission in FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) broadcasting mode, which is to be implemented and evaluated in practice as part of the project. In addition, IRT is developing a FeMBMS receiver based on SDR technology (Software-Defined Radio) and is involved in transmitter network planning and test field measurements.

The findings from the project make a significant contribution on the road to 5G broadcasting. They support the standardization work and promote the further development of components for future market readiness.


The European research project 5G-Xcast (Broadcast and Multicast Communication Enabler of the 5th mobile radio generation) develops, evaluates and demonstrates a conceptually novel and future-oriented 5G network architecture in which unicast, multicast, broadcast and local caching can be used as transmission modes. In addition to solutions for freely accessible linear media distribution (e.g. live TV services), public security and the Internet of Things, a dynamically adaptable 5G network architecture with layer-independent network interfaces for dynamic and seamless switching between unicast, multicast and broadcast modes will be developed.

One of the main objectives of 5G-Xcast is to demonstrate the feasibility of the main technological innovations of the project for the monitoring & evaluation sector. IRT's role is to ensure that the 5G ecosystem can be configured to support traditional and new media services. For this purpose, appropriate network interfaces to content service providers, the required callflows within the core network and air interface and framing aspects were designed accordingly. Furthermore, IRT participates in various technical work packages and plays a key role in test bed integration, validation and demonstration.


The 5G-MEDIA research project aims to link media-related applications with the underlying 5G networks. Based on previous project results of the European Community Initiative 5G-PPP, an agile programming, verification and orchestration platform for services using open source software will be offered. This platform provides a straightforward approach to using necessary functions co-ordinated with the workflow. In addition, network functions and applications with varying requirements for 5G network technology are developed and demonstrated.

5G Media Initiative

The 5G Media Initiative was launched by renowned companies and organizations to promote the potential of the future 5G network standard for the media industry through research and development. Partners include Kathrein Werke KG, Nokia, Rohde & Schwarz, Telefónica, MUGLER, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Südwestrundfunk, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg FAU, Fraunhofer-Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen IIS, Institut für Nachrichtentechnik der TU Braunschweig, Institut für Rundfunktechnik IRT and the Munich-based start-up company Cadami. The 5G Media Initiative networks media, science and industry to exchange know-how, develop joint positions and initiate research projects.

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